Having my tonsils removed at age 26

In case you're wondering what it's like to have your tonsils removed as an adult (and several of you have asked me), here's the scoop.

Day 1. The procedure itself was relatively short. I checked into the hospital's surgery center at about 10.30 and was discharged shortly before 1 o'clock. As far as I can remember, the surgery itself started at 11.30 and I was waking up from the anesthesia (speaking Arabic, according to the attending staff) at 12.30.

Immediately after the surgery, before everything swelled up, I was already glad I had done it. I could tell that my throat was going to feel so much better once it was healed.

The rest of the day was kind of a blur. I was on a half-dose of Vicodin most of the time and just slept and swallowed the hours away. Swallowing was quite the chore. I had to work up the courage to do it each time.

Days 2-4. Swallowing, eating, breathing, and talking were very, very painful, even through Vicodin. In fact, talking was actually impossible for me. The problem wasn't that my voice was gone; it was that the movement of my mouth required to produce speech was excruciating. I think the whole house was covered in sticky notes by this point, filled with all the things I was trying to say out loud but couldn't.

Not only was the inside of my mouth sore, but parts of my jaw and lips were in pain, as well. I could hardly open my mouth to "eat" "food," which is what I would call slurping applesauce from a spoon. I lived on applesauce, apple juice, popsicles, and brown rice for these few days. When this is all over, I think I'll stay away from apple-based products for a while.

Day 5. I ventured out of the house for the first time to a low-key dinner at a friend's house and managed to eat some mashed potatoes. In just a few days, I had lost 5 pounds. In other developments, I was able to open my mouth enough to brush my teeth for the first time since the surgery. The pain was still bad, but it was really starting to feel more like strep throat than post-surgery discomfort.

Days 6-8. I woke up on day 6 feeling much better. The major problem now was not necessarily pain, but tightness all through my throat. Also, for some reason I was constantly yawning, which was very uncomfortable. Fortunately, I was able to expand my diet to include instant breakfast and bananas.

Day 9. I was finally able to talk again more than a week after the surgery. I also decided to try to exercise today, and managed to go for a walk, but it turned out to be too much. That night, I started bleeding. I'll spare you the gory details except to say that after a long night, it stopped, and I woke up in the morning with a trickle of dried blood running down from the corner of my mouth. Jeremy said I looked like a vampire.

Days 10-12. This brings us up to date. In many ways, these last couple of days have been the worst because of the bleeding. I had started to eat a more varied diet but now I'm back to applesauce and popsicles. But I have a feeling that tomorrow will be a good day.

In summary:
Total weight lost: about 10 pounds, some of which I'm sure is just water weight.
Total recovery time: about 12 days; probably a couple more to be 100%.
Days I had help, in the form of my mom: 5. I wish it could have been more.
Number of days I thought I would take Vicodin: 0.
Number of days I actually took Vicodin, even though it was just a half dose: 5.
Percentage of people with tonsillectomies who experience bleeding: 10%, apparently.
Movies watched while convalescent: Evita, Eragon, Cars, Little House on the Prairie, Pride & Prejudice, 3.10 to Yuma (the old version), parts of The Fellowship of the Ring, and Gone With the Wind.
Books read: none. Either my head wasn't clear enough or I was just in too much pain.

And finally, the answer to the question, Was it worth it? DEFINITELY. I am very glad I did it, despite all the pain and suffering.

Any other questions?

I'm also curious how my experience compares with that of someone who had their tonsils removed at a much younger (or older, I guess) age. I've heard it's an easier process for children, but maybe that's just because the children forget (or can't express) how painful it was.

The root of all evil

The sign says...